MHS girls' golf team young, but learning

By Felicia Whatley - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Apr. 13, 2012
A Manchester High School golfer sets up to put. Photos by Felicia Whatley.
A Manchester High School golfer sets up to put. Photos by Felicia Whatley.

Many members of the Manchester High School girls' golf team are still learning the game and just beginning to compete, which presents quite a few challenges early in the season. “We have a group of 12 very inexperienced girls. We have only two that have experience, five that are freshmen, and only one senior," said coach Bob Healy.

"Our senior is presently injured and can't play," continued Healy, a physical education teacher who has coached the team for the past five years. "We were a group of 13, but we lost another to an unrelated-to-golf injury. We are trying to rebuild from last year,” he said. Healy said his father taught him the basics of the sport, and the rest he learned on his own.

The team's morale is good and the members are enthusiastic, despite their inexperience. This year's was the best turnout for the sport so far.

“I just learned this year,” said freshman Brittany Yingling. “My dad encouraged me. I thought the sport looked cool and fun, so I tried it.”

For many on the team this is the first time being on a regulation golf course, said Healy. “It's a big step to learn the rules and etiquette of golf and then compete. I just want to see progress, that they get better each match. Once they understand it, they will do better,” he said.

Their first match was definitely a learning process. “Yesterday, we had a girl who had a nose bleed and had to stop playing. We also had three girls who had never played a match before. We dealt with blustery weather and various blind shots, which is asking a lot of them. Some were very nervous,” said Healy.

But the sport can be soothing. Sophomore Bonnie Purtill, for example, said the game is relaxing. "Some think it's frustrating, but I don't take it too seriously,” she said. “We competed against three schools. We came in last, but I thought we had fun. I just want to learn to get out there, have fun, and be successful. This is a great team. We get along really well,” said Purtill.

Assistant golf coach Brent Mikkelsen, who is also a school counselor, said, “I am looking forward to teaching the new kids how enjoyable golf can be. Definitely, golf is theraputic. It is a lifetime sport that teaches patience. Patience is a virtue we need more of. They can transcend in life what they learn in golf.”

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